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mattress guides

What Is The Difference Between A Mattress Topper And Protector?

mattress topper

A mattress topper and a mattress protector are not the same things. A topper is multi-functional, and a protect does exactly what it is supposed to do - protects your mattress. But can a topper be a protector, too? Do you really need to buy both? Find all the answers here!

difference between mattress topper and protector

What is a mattress topper?

A topper (it is often called pad, but the latter is much thinner and not as helpful as the topper) is the extra comfortable layer that sits on the top of your mattress or is attached with straps. Why do sleepers need a topper? Here are some of the most important reasons why people keep buying them:

  1. Toppers may provide extra support and make a mattress more comfortable.
  2. They allow customizing mattresses according to the doctor’s advice.
  3. They can be used to make a mattress softer.
  4. A topper is a perfect solution for those who understand that their mattress is old and no longer as comfortable as before but don’t want to buy a new one right now.
  5. A topper is a great alternative to mattress protectors if you don’t want to buy a protector for some reason.
  6. It works great when it comes to muffling noise.
mattress topper

Note that unlike pads, toppers are pretty thick. Some of them are waterproof (that is one of the main reasons why people confuse toppers with protectors) and hypoallergenic. In general, they can be made of different materials including foam, memory foam, cotton, polyester, gel-infused memory foam, and latex.

Such toppers can be bought in most online as well as offline stores, and the price depends on plenty of factors, from materials to the brand. Some manufacturers even claim that their toppers are made of a unique brand material and have unique qualities and sell them as some of the most important products.

What is a mattress protector?

As its name suggests, the main purpose of the mattress protector is to protect a mattress and therefore, make it last much, much longer than it would last without any kind of protection. Simply put, if you want to sleep on a new mattress as long as possible, you need a protector - a thin waterproof piece of polyester and cotton with vinyl or polyurethane. What exactly does it do? Let us take a look.

  1. It protects your mattress from liquid (sweat, spills) it looks like a new one.
  2. It is slowing down the process of deterioration.
  3. It protects a mattress from mold and insects.
mattress protector

Such protectors are used as fitted sheets - the best thing about them is that they also cover and therefore protect sides. Some protectors even cover the bottom protecting all the surfaces. They are usually hypoallergenic, too.

What are the main differences between mattress toppers and mattress protectors?

Toppers have different features and help to cope with many problems. In particular, toppers may add some height, give some extra cushioning, make a mattress feel softer or firmer, and even make your old mattress as comfortable as before.

Protectors, however, do exactly what they are supposed to do - they protect your mattress from liquid, dust, dirt, hairs, etc. to extend its lifespan and save your money. This is their main and only function.

mattress topper and protector

Should you buy both?

Protectors and toppers can be used together, but most people just don’t want to spend more. So, should you buy both? It depends. If your mattress is still very comfortable, if you like its height and firmness but still want to protect it and make it last longer, you need a protector.

However, if you understand that something is wrong about your mattress, if you need it to be firmer or softer, if you need better pressure relief and extra height, you may need a topper + a protector to improve your mattress significantly and extend its durability. Why not choose a topper that has protective properties? Because this is not the main function of the topper and protectors are still better when it comes to prolonging the life of your mattress.


As you can see, mattress toppers and mattress protectors are not the same things. If you just want to protect your mattress that is already super-comfortable, you just need a protector. If you want to improve your mattress significantly, change its properties a bit, you need a topper. And if you need to improve your mattress and at the same time prolong its life, you need both.